Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Action returns to Korakuen Hall this coming Monday for a Watanabe and Dangan co-promoted card. This is a small card, with just 3 bouts on it in total, but it is also a very notable card, with all 3 bouts being title contests. As well as the 3 bouts, fans will also get an exhibition featuring one of the biggest stars in Japanese boxing, who makes a long awaited return to Korakuen Hall.
Also it's worth noting all of these bouts were originally scheduled to take place in May, but were delayed due to the Sumida City Gymnasium being closed during the recent State of Emergency in various Japanese regions.
The main event of the show will see Japanese Minimuwmeight champion Masataka Taniguchi (13-3, 8) making his first defense, as he takes on the once beaten Tatsuro Nakashima (11-1-1, 7). Taniguchi won the Japanese title late last year, winning the belt in his second shot at it, and he could end up having a very strong reign if he and his team are happy with him developing on the Japanese scene for the next few years. The talented champion will have hopes of winning a world title one day, but for now he's best off developing, getting some experience and fighting at this level. As for Nakashima he's a decent fighter, but it does feel like he's ill prepared for a bout with Taniguchi. He lost in 2018 to Kai Ishizawa and narrowly got past Ariston Aton in 2019. Nakashima has the potential to win a Japanese title, but we suspect he's getting this shot too soon in his career, and before he's really ready. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Taniguchi hunts first defense as he takes on Nakashima
In another of the title bouts we'll see former world champion Yuko Kuroki (17-6-2, 8) battle against the unbeaten Mizuki Chimoto (2-0, 1) for the vacant OPBF female Minimumweight title. For Kuroki this really is a must win bout, she's more than 3 years removed from her last win, she's 1-2-1 in her last 4, and was last seen fighting to a draw with veteran Nao Ikeyama. The now 30 year old Kuroki went from looking like a woman on the verge of stardom to a woman who boxing has seemingly forgot. Another loss here and it'll be really hard for her to bounce back. As for the 27 year old Chimoto, she was a good amateur who has been on the fast track since making her debut in late 2018 and it's great to see her fighting for a title, against a former world champion, this early in her career. Our preview for this bout can be read here Chimoto steps up to take on former world champion Kuroki in third pro bout!
The third title bout will see Kanako Taniyama (3-1-1, 1) and Yuko Henzan (8-10-4, 2) clash for the vacant Japanese female Bantamweight title. Both of these women are 34 years old and neither can really afford another set at this point. Taniyama turned professional with plenty of attention but has struggled to make a mark in pro boxing, something she was expected to do very easily. Henzan on the other hand has lost her last 3, and is limited, but has the clear edge in experience and will know that this is almost certainly going to be her final shot at a title. This could end up being a bit of a messy fight, with desperation setting in from both women, but with only 6 rounds it could also be a frantic and exciting one. Our in depth preview for this one is here Taniyama and Henzan battle for Japanese female title!
As well as the three bouts the card will also feature an exhibition bout, with WBA "super" Light Flyweight champion Hitoro Kyguchi (15-0, 10) showcasing his skills before the main event. Sadly at the time of writing his "opponent" hasn't been named.
For the second time this month we head to the Korakuen Hall for a tournament final, and this time around we also have a lot of title action on the show, with the "God's Left" Bantamweight final coming on a show that also features 3 title fights, including a female world title fight!
The tournament final will see unbeaten Ohashi gym hopeful Kazuki Nakajima (8-0, 7) take on Kadoebi gym hopeful Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0, 4) in a very, very, explosive looking God's Left Bantamweight tournament final. Tsutsumi, who was the only seed in the tournament, has gotten through to the final with out fighting in a single bout, getting a bye in the quarter final stage then a walk over in his semi-final. Nakajima on the other hand has blitzed Kenichi Watanabe and Jin Minamide to reach the final, beating both men inside a round. Both of these fighters can bang, and we expect this to be fireworks almost from the off.
The female world title bout will see Ayaka Miyao (23-8-1, 6) take on Etsuko Tada (19-3-2, 6) for the vacant WBO female Minimumweight title. For Miyao this bout will see her moving up in weight, abandoning the Atomweight division that she has been such a major force in over the years, whilst Tada will be looking to become a 4-time world champion. Given the styles of the two women involved in this one we expect fireworks, as both like to let their hands go. Tada is certainly the bigger, stronger fighter but she's also the older slower fighter, whilst Miyao is faster and more energetic. A very, very interesting match up. Our preview of this can be read here Veterans Tada and Miyao face off for WBO title!
Another title fight on this show will see second generation fighter Kaiki Yuba (6-0-2, 4) take on Kanta Takenaka (7-4-1, 2) for the vacant JBC Youth Lightweight title. For the unbeaten Yuba this is a second shot at the title, following a technical draw when he fought Izuki Tomioka for the belt almost 2 years ago, whilst Takenaka will be looking to build on his win over Kazuaki Miyamoto from last April. This bout has an in depth preview here Yuba and Takenaka clash for Japanese youth title!
The other title bout on this card is actually a rematch, as Kanako Taniyama (2-0-1, 1) and Tomoko Okuda (5-2-2, 1) battle for the vacant JBC female Bantamweight title. These two women fought to a draw last September, in what was a genuinely entertaining bout, though it felt like Taniyama deserved the win but didn't get it in Okuda's home city. We can't help but think Taniyama will take the win here, in another entertaining battle. Our preview of this bout is here Taniyama and Okuda face off again for Japanese female title!
Over in Canada unbeaten Uzbek Hurshidbek Normatov (9-0, 3) is scheduled to be in action in a 6 round bout, though his opponent has yet to be named. This will be the unbeaten Uzbek's first professional bout outside of the US, and will see him look to build on what has been a pretty slow build career thus far.
This coming Monday isn't a huge day for boxing, but there is still a lot of action in Osaka prefecture, with 2 cards taking place in the region, with a combined 4 title bouts!
The most significant bout from those two cards takes place in Osaka city and will see WBO Asia Pacific Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (33-10-3, 10) making his first defense of the title he won earlier this year. The Japanese veteran, who vacated the OPBF title in the hope of moving towards a world title fight, will be defending the WBO regional title as he takes on South Korean Korean puncher Yang Hyun Min (8-2, 7) in what is expected to be little more than a work out for Nonaka. The highly skilled Nonaka is a very smart fighter who, even in his 40's, is a very talented and driven boxer who has made it clear he's still chasing goals in hi career. Min on the other hand is a bit of an unknown outside of Korea, and he's not expected to have much to test Nonaka, though has shown pretty heavy hands on the Korean domestic scene. For those interested in more information about this bout a preview can be read here Preview - Yuki Nonaka Vs Yang Hyun Min
The other title bout on this card will see youngsters collide, with Joe Shiraishi (8-0-1, 4) and Yoshiki Minato (8-2, 3) facing off for the Japanese Youth Flyweight title. Shiraishi came to our attention in 2017 when he won the All Japan Rookie of the Year, beating Minato along the way in fact, and has since added two stoppage wins since then. Sadly inactivity has been an issue for him but he is a really youngster. Of course he's not the only talented youngster here and Minato will be seeking revenge for his 2017 loss, however he comes into this on the back of an opening round blow out loss to Seigo Yuri Akui back in April. Incidentally Minato won the All Japan Rookie of the Year himself in 2018, meaning this is a clash of Rookie champions. A full preview of this bout can be read here Shiraishi and Minato rematch for Youth title!
Another interesting supporting bout on this card will see Rikuto Adachi (12-2, 9) and Change Hamashima (10-4-1, 4) battle at Welterweight. Both men really need a win here, following recent losses, and interestingly both have also lost recently to Kudura Kaneko. Adachi was stopped in 5 rounds by Kaneko, who simply over-powered him, whilst Hamashima has lost 2 decisions to Kaneko and was also stopped in 7 rounds last time out by Masaharu Kaito. It's really hard to see where the loser goes next, but the winner will likely find themselves working towards a Japanese Youth title bout.
Staying in Osaka Prefecture, though going from Osaka City to Sakai City, we get another notable card with double title action on it, albeit on a less interesting card than the other card.
Like the other card the main event is a WBO Asia Pacific title fight, though this time it's down at Light Flyweight where the once beaten Daiki Tomita (13-1, 5) takes on Hayato Yamaguchi (15-7-1, 2) for the vacant title. Tomita, who turns 22 in November, impressed us last year when he put up a brave effort against Tsuaba Koura in an OPBF title fight. Tomita impressed again last time out, blowing away Jeffrey Galero and we do suspect his move to 108lbs will be a good decision for his career. For Yamaguchi this is just his second bout since being stopped in October 2016 by Tetsuya Hisada, and we do wonder he has left in the tank at the moment in time. Our in depth preview of this bout is available here Tomita and Yamaguchi face off for WBO Asia Pacific title!
In a notable supporting bout former OPBF title challenger Shingo Kawamura (16-5-2, 8) taking on the light hitting Jin Miura (10-3-2, 1). Coming in to this Kawamura is well over a year removed from his last win, which came back on April 28th 2018, and another set back here really will leave the 29 year old Southpaw in an terrible position if he's wanting to get another shot at gold any time soon. Although no world beater Miura is unbeaten in his last 3, including a notable draw against Mugicha Nakagawa and an upset win over Tatsuya Matsumoto, and a win here will move him towards a title fight of his own. A really interesting one, even if it's not likely to be the most explosive.
A second title bout on this show will see Tomoko Okuda (5-2-1, 1) take on the fast rising Kanako Taniyama (2-0, 1) in a bout for the JBC female Bantamweight title. This will probably be the only chance that the 36 year old Okuda has to win a notably bout whilst Taniyama will be looking to prove her move over from kick boxing to boxing has been a success. At 2 years old Taniyama is no spring chicken but her combat sport experience is expected to be a launch pad to help her move into world title action sooner rather than later. If Taniyama is what the Watanabe gym are hoping for she needs to win, and win big here. A preview of this bout can be read here Taniyama and Okuda battle for female Bantamweight title!
Arguably the most notable show this coming Friday is from Tokyo, where we see a relatively low level Japanese domestic card.
The main event of the card will see Japanese ranked Light Welterweight Ryuji Ikeda (14-5-2, 9) facing off with domestic journeyman Joji Tsuchiya (8-5-2, 5) in what should be a straight forward win for Ikeda. Ikeda has lost 2 of his last 4, but he is better than that would suggest, and one of those losses was on the road to Darragh Foley. Tsuchiya is in better form, going 4-1 in his last 5, but this is a big step up from the competition that those wins have come against.
Japanese ranked Flyweight Wolf Nakano (5-7-4 1) looks to build on a good win over Mako Matsuyama as he takes on Shogo Sumitomo (6-13-1, 5). This isn't a great bout, in terms of how significant it is, but should be competitive and entertaining with both men going to be in there for the win.
Former kick boxer turned boxer Kanako Taniyama (1-0, 1) will step up in class as she battles Thai visitor Phannaluk Kongsang (5-7-1, 2). Taniyama had been a top kick boxer before a knee injury left her career in tatters and forced her into boxing. She looked promising, but flawed, on her debut last year but we're expecting to see a more rounded performance here. Phannaluk is no patsy here, and was in action in November, when she won the WBC Asian Boxing Council Female Bantamweight title, so should provide a test for the Japanese novice.
La Union, Philippines
As well as the card in Japan we also get a low key one in the Philippines.
The main event of this card will see Michael Mendoza (8-1-2, 3) battle against Vincent Bautista (5-12-4, 1), in a bout for the PBF Flyweight title. Mendoza will be strongly favoured here, given his record but he could be tested by Bautista who is typically a tough nut to crack. Although Bautista has gone 0-7-1 in his last 8, we wouldn't be surprised by him making this a competitive contest.
In a supporting bout Ryan Torres (8-2-1, 7) will battle against Jerry Mae Villagracia (6-7, 2). Torres was beaten last time out, and is almost 2 years removed from his last win, but will still be the favourite, especially given that Villagracia has been stopped in his last 6, and 7 of his last 8. If we're being honest this looks little more than a confidence builder for Torres.
In Thailand fans will be able to see once beaten Thai Nop Kratingdaenggym (22-1, 8) , aka Anurak Thisa, fighting for the WBA Asia Featherweight title against JR Magboo (17-2-2, 8). The Thai is currently riding a 5 fight winning run following his 2016 loss to the then WBA Super Bantamweight champion Nehomar Cermeno in China. Magboo on the other hand has lost 2 of his last 3, though is a solid Filipino domestic level fighter.